This new entry by Christopher Macleod replaces the old entry on this topic by the previous author. John Stuart Mill —73 was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century.
He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging John Stuart Mills Essay of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. James Mill, a Scotsman, had been educated at Edinburgh University—taught by, amongst others, Dugald Stewart—and had moved to London inwhere he was to become a friend and prominent ally of Jeremy Bentham and the Philosophical Radicals.
For this, at least, it prepared him well. Starting with Greek at age three and Latin at age eight, Mill had go here most of the classical canon by age twelve—along with algebra, Euclid, and the major Scottish and English historians.
John Stuart Mills Essay his early teenage years, he studied political economy, logic, and calculus, utilising his spare time to digest treatises on experimental science as an amusement. At age fifteen—upon returning from a year-long trip to France, a nation he would eventually call home—he started work on the major treatises of philosophy, psychology and government. All this was conducted under the strict daily supervision of his father—with young John holding primary responsibility for the education of his siblings Reeves The intensity of study and weight of expectation took its toll.
But he quickly found that his education had not prepared him for life. Though such episodes were to recur throughout his life, his initial recovery was found in the poetry of the Romantics. Mill particularly valued Wordsworth during this period—though his new interests quickly led him to the work of Coleridge, John Stuart Mills Essay, and Goethe. His primary philosophic goal became, and would throughout his life remain, to integrate and reconcile these opposing schools of philosophy.
This new-found eclecticism also led to productive engagement with, amongst others, Francois Guizot, Auguste Comte, and Tocqueville. Harriet Taylor Kinzer Mill met Harriet at a dinner party inand the two quickly fell in love. John Taylor died inwith Harriet and Mill marrying in —though not before the perceived scandal had caused a rift between Mill and many of his friends.
ON LIBERTY by John Stuart Mill - FULL Audio Book
Mill felt first-hand the stifling effect of Victorian judgmentalism and oppressive norms of propriety—a subject he just click for source later take up in On Liberty. Mill idolized Harriet, and credited her with virtual co-authorship of many of his works. She died, however, inwhile Mill and she were travelling through France. Harriet was buried in Avignon, where Mill subsequently purchased a house close by the cemetery, and lived for the rest of his life.
Mill inscribed on her grave that. Mill had taken a position as a junior clerk at aged seventeen, working directly under his father, who had received the post on the basis of his John Stuart Mills Essay of A History of British India.
John rose through the ranks, eventually holding the position of Chief Examiner of Correspondence—a position roughly equivalent to Undersecretary of State, involving managing dispatches for colonial administration Zastoupil The job, Mill noted, provided the stability of income needed for an author without independent means, and was not so taxing as to prevent him exerting the majority of his time and mental energy on his philosophical pursuits.
In keeping with his views on distinction between representation and delegation, Mill declined to actively canvass for the seat—indeed, he remained, for most of the campaign, at his home in Avignon. While in the Commons, he championed what he perceived as unpopular but important causes: He did not win a second term, being defeated by in Kinzer, Robson, and Robson He died in Avignon on 7 Mayand was buried next to his wife.
It is not easy, however, to get a foothold on this naturalism. His account of knowledge, however, draws upon his general picture of mind, world, and their relation—and therefore depends on a theory of what there is. Relevant contrasts are, for instance, theists who hold that our minds have been given to us by an omnipotent and benevolent God for the purpose of comprehension, and idealists who hold that the mind has a formative role in constructing the world.
For such thinkers, a basic harmony between the architecture of mind and world might seem to be a given—as such, if our experience could be found to take John Stuart Mills Essay certain form, then we could infer facts about how the world must be composed. Mill rejects this move. Such an inference would only be warrantable, if we could know a priori that we must have been created capable of conceiving whatever is capable of existing: As logically independent matters of fact, Mill thought there could be no seamless inference from the composition of our mind to how the rest of the world is, or must be.
Mill holds, therefore, that there can be no genuine a priori knowledge of objective facts. Whewell on Moral PhilosophyX: All genuine knowledge, then, whether theoretical or ethical, must be obtained by observation and experience. Mill adds to it a psychological account of the underlying mechanism by which we form ideas. All of our ideas and beliefs, Mill holds, have their origins in sense impressions. There are innumerable cases of Belief for which no cause can be assigned, except that something has created so strong an association between two ideas that the person cannot separate them in thought.
We have never perceived any object, or any portion of space, which had not other space beyond it. And we have been perceiving objects and portions of space from read more moment of birth. How then could the idea of an object, or of a portion of space, escape becoming inseparably associated with the idea of additional space beyond?
Every instant of our lives helps to rivet this association, and we never have had a single experience tending to disjoin it. Words denote the objects which they are true of; they connote specific attributes of those objects. Connotation determines denotation in the following sense: Not all words have connotation.
Mill notes that words can be singular or general. The proposition S is P can be understood, in the case that P is a connoting term, as the claim that the object denoted by S has the attribute connoted by P. The proposition S is Pwhere P John Stuart Mills Essay a non-connoting term, can be understood as the claim that the object denoted by S is the same object as that denoted by P. The difference is key. Such propositions are key to understanding the uninformative nature of a priori propositions and a priori reasoning.
But he does argue that such propositions share the feature of conveying no genuine information about the world. Deductive or a priori reasoning, Mill thinks, is similarly empty. Predating the revolution in logic that the late nineteenth-century ushered in, Mill thinks of deductive reasoning primarily in terms of the syllogism.
Syllogistic reasoning, he argues can elicit no new truths about how the world is: In standard syllogistic inferences, he argues, for arguments to John Stuart Mills Essay valid, the conclusion must already have been asserted in the premises. By way of example, in the above argument, the conclusion must already have been asserted in the Premise 1 —the proposition that all men are mortal must be said to include the proposition that Socrates is moral if the argument is to here valid.
No new knowledge is therefore acquired in reasoning from premises to conclusion. The claim is perhaps more difficult to support than Mill appreciates, depending, as it does, upon equating of the meaning of a universal statement with the meaning of a conjunction of singular statement Fumerton The suggestion that deductive reasoning cannot lead us to any new knowledge prompts two questions.
Firstly, if not the advancement of knowledge, what is the function of syllogistic reasoning? And, secondly, what are we to say about apparently deductive reasoning which manifestly does lead us to new knowledge?
In making arguments such as the one above, we cannot acquire new knowledge: But the implications of holding a general premise are more clearly displayed by the syllogistic reasoning, and this, in certain instances, may cause us to re-evaluate our commitment to that premise.
John Stuart Mill - "On Liberty" Essays: Over , John Stuart Mill - "On Liberty" Essays, John Stuart Mill - "On Liberty" Term Papers, John Stuart Mill - "On. Papers on John Stuart Mill - Papers on John Stuart Mill and his philosophies - J.S. Mill papers. The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple All citations of Mill are taken from The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, edited by John M. Robson. John Stuart Mill believed in an ethical theory known as utilitarianism and John Stuart Mills Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Philosophy Essay. Print Reference.
To the second question, Mill holds that John Stuart Mills Essay we do gain genuinely new knowledge—in cases of mathematics and geometry, for instance—we must, at some level, be reasoning inductively. Mill, that is to say, attempts to account for the genuine informativeness of mathematical and geometric reasoning by denying that they are in any real sense a priori.
We cannot acquire any genuine knowledge a priorithen. Mill holds that knowledge can be obtained only by empirical observation, and by reasoning which takes place on the ground of such observations. This article source stands at the heart of his radical empiricism.
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And, as this web page shall see, Mill grants the validity of only one kind of inference. Induction properly so called […] may […] be summarily defined as Generalization from Experience. It consists in inferring from some individual instances in which a phenomenon is observed to occur, that it occurs in all instances of a certain class; namely, in all which resemble the former, in what are regarded as the material circumstances.
Upon seeing ten swans, all white, for instance, we tend to believe that an eleventh unseen swan is also white. But, Mill holds, such inferences are not something we are merely disposed to believe, John Stuart Mills Essay something we have reason to believe—inferences of this general form are warranted.
The question arises, of course, how it is that we can be warranted in believing the results of induction prior to their confirmation or disconfirmation—how it comes to be that we can be justified in believing an inductively suggested conclusion.
Mill offers two answers to this question.
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The first, we might term his iterative validation of induction. We know, in other words, by an act of inductionthat inductive generalizations tend to be true, and that induction is therefore a good way of reasoning.
Induction is, in this sense, self-supporting. Of course, this justification is circular, as Mill realizes. If we are warranted in believing that induction is in general a good way of reasoning only to the extent that our past inductions are themselves taken to have been good inferences, then the question remains how those inductions can be warranted forms of inference cf.
Many of the uniformities existing among phenomena are here constant, and so open to observation, as to force themselves upon involuntary recognition. We are naturally inclined to desire pleasure, and such desires, when we attend to them, strike us as reasonable—as being desire- worthy.
Similarly, we are naturally disposed to believe in inductive generalisations, and such beliefs, when we attend to them, strike us as reasonable—being belief- worthy. In each case, there is no further initial justification of our natural reasoning propensities beyond the fact that, upon John Stuart Mills Essay inspection, they strike us as sound.
Indeed, that valid principles of reason—practical and theoretical—are established by casting a critical eye upon how we in fact do reason should be of no surprise: But the justification provided is real nevertheless. And from here, iterative validation can increase our confidence that we are warranted in reasoning inductively: As noted above, Mill claims not only that enumerative induction go here a valid principle, but that it is the sole principle by which we are justified in inferring unobserved facts about the world.
We are not entitled, that is to say, to believe in something unobserved solely on the basis that it explains the observed facts Skorupski This is not to deny the role of hypothesis in investigation altogether, however. Mill claims that hypotheses about unobserved entities made in an effort to explain empirical observations can provide useful suggestionsbut that entitlement to believe can only be provided by reasoning based on the principle of enumerative induction.
The reasoning that takes place in our scientific engagement with the world, Mill holds, is simply the application of a particularly refined version of such enumerative induction. Experience testifies, that among the uniformities which it exhibits or seems to exhibit, some are more to be relied on than others […] This mode of correcting one generalization by means of another, a narrower generalization by a wider, which common sense suggests and adopts in practice, is John Stuart Mills Essay real type of scientific Induction.